Tour of Beijing: Nacer Bouhanni takes overall lead after sprinting to stage two victory
Last Updated: 13/10/13 12:29pm
Nacer Bouhanni timed his sprint to perfection
Nacer Bouhanni moved into the race leader's red jersey at the Tour of Beijing by sprinting to victory on stage two in Yanqing.
The FDJ rider had been well off the front heading into the final 1,500m but then surged forward on the wheel of a team-mate with 500m to go and went on to win by a bike's length from second-placed Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) and third-placed Mitchell Docker (Orica-GreenEdge).
The ten bonus seconds Bouhanni picked up for the win drew him level on time with previous leader Thor Hushovd (BMC), but the Frenchman takes the red jersey by virtue of his superior accumulated stage placings.
Stage two of the five-day race took the riders on a 201.5km route containing four categorised climbs, and five riders mounted an early breakaway.
Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Chad Beyer (Champion System), Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol), Massimo Graziato (Lampre-Merida) and Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) managed to open up a lead of over four minutes, but the last two climbs proved taxing and the group was whittled down to just Kaisen and Bouet with 50km to go.
FDJ's perfect timing
Bouet later sat up with 25km remaining after picking up enough bonus seconds at intermediate sprints to move up to third in the general classification, one second behind Bouhanni and Hushovd.
That left Kaisen as sole leader and although the Belgian rode well, he was powerless to hold off the sprint trains and was swallowed up with just over 8km remaining.
BMC had led the peloton all day but suddenly ran out of manpower, leaving Omega Pharma - Quick-Step and Argos-Shimano to battle out a punishing drag race - each on either side of the road - as the two teams looked to seize control of the sprint.
Their duel only served to tire each other out, though, and by 1km to go, it was Orica-GreenEdge who were driving on the front and looking favourites for victory.
However, FDJ then moved stealthily forward and no one had a response to Bouhanni when he launched his decisive burst with 200m to go.
Stage two result
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, 4:59:49
2 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, same time
3 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
4 Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff, st
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
6 Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM, st
7 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, st
8 Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, st
9 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano, st
10 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, st
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, 9:20:13
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC, same time
3 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1sec
4 Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM, +3
5 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano, +4
6 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
7 Chad Beyer (USA) Champion System, +5
8 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +6
9 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
10 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, +7